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News from around the Ojai Valley

Bear cub makes a visit to Meiners Oaks neighborhood

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Ojai Valley News photo by Perry Van Houten
The tranquilized bear cub awaits a ride to return him to the wilderness.
Perry Van Houten, Ojai Valley News reporter
A 100-pound California black bear cub was headed back to the wilderness Aug. 30 after first paying a visit to a Meiners Oaks neighborhood.
Residents in the 100 block of Felix Drive spotted the bear in a tree in a backyard at approximately 10 a.m.
Sheriff's deputies and officials from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife were hoping the bear would climb down from the tree and make its way back into the forest.
At 1:30 p.m. officials learned the bear was still in the neighborhood, so they set up a perimeter to locate and sedate it.
The bear was located in the backyard of a home in the 100 block of Lomita Avenue.
Ultimately, a Fish and Wildlife officer tranquilized the bear, that was returned unhurt to the Los Padres National Forest.
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Ojai’s Davis throws perfect game

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Photo by Avery Colborn/Ojai Valley School
Derek Mendoza (from right) gives Tyler Davis an ice bath from as Eli Miller looks on. Davis pitched a perfect game against Summit View School.
Avery Colborn/Caroline Morrow, Ojai Valley News contributors 
The Ojai Valley School boys’ baseball team remains undefeated in league play after a 10-0 win March 19 against Summit View School.
The team completed one of its best games this season, with sophomore pitcher Tyler Davis leading the way by throwing a perfect game. He struck out 11 batters and retired all of Summit View’s batters with only 59 pitches in total.
He led the team with his perfect pitching and continued the momentum at bat.
In the bottom of the third inning, Tyler hit an inside-the-park home run to extend the Spuds’ early lead.
“It was pretty crazy. I didn’t even comprehend that it was a home run yet until after sliding in and calling it safe,” Tyler recalled. “I thought it was awesome to have my dad and brother see my first home run too.”
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Nordhoff boys 4-0 after comeback victories

Mike Miller, Ojai Valley News sports editor
The Nordhoff High School (NHS) boys’ tennis team recently completed what head coach Todd Dickey called “back-to-back, unforgettable comebacks.”
In their March 14 match against Rio Mesa, the Rangers stormed back from a 7-4 deficit by winning five of the last seven sets to pull off the victory. The win over Rio Mesa improved Nordhoff’s record to 3-0 on the season and set up another epic contest versus Simi Valley the following day.
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Playing hardball: Hicks makes major-league change in her game

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Photo submitted
Villanova freshman Mackenzie Hicks shows her skills at the plate.
Mike Miller, Ojai Valley News sports editor
When Mackenzie Hicks learned Villanova Preparatory School (VPS) was not going to field a softball team this spring, the freshman wasn’t deterred. Rather than stressing over the fact the game she played since second grade was no longer in her future, Hicks turned her sights to baseball instead.
“I kind of knew it was possible there wouldn’t be a team because some of the girls from last year’s team graduated. We had enough girls at one point but then they started dropping out. I found out right before the season was going to start,” she said.
At the encouragement of VPS coaches and athletic director Ricardo Olivares, Hicks decided to give baseball a go and the freshman has earned a starting spot at second base on varsity.
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Goldbere recognized for leadership and hard work

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Photo submitted
Grace Golbere, an eighth-grader at Matilija Junior High School, was named the Physical Education Project Student of the Month at the club’s March 16 meeting. Golbere was nominated for the award by teacher Brent Muth. “Grace is an outstanding person who works hard, and leads by example on a daily basis. Whether trying a new sport, or working out in the fitness center, Grace always gives 100 percent. Grace is the classic lead-by-example person. It is a pleasure to have Grace in class, and I'm sure she will be successful in her future endeavors,” said Muth.

Local rowers have stellar season

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Photo by Romeo Legaspi
The Casitas Rowing team took on the 2000-meter race course at the Long Beach Spring Regatta March 10 and March 11 and liked the results at the end of the weekend. The winter training at Lake Casitas paid off as every junior athlete brought home a medal. Not only did every junior see success, but two varsity boys in particular have medaled in every race this year in their lightweight double and are charging forward to the year-end championships in Sacramento with hopes of advancing to nationals this summer. Joe Wells (left) of Ojai and Alex Legaspi of Ventura, both seniors, are working to make this summer one to remember as they finish off their high school rowing careers with several more first-place finishes.

To move on from troubled life, Crane turns back to sports

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Photo submitted
Kevin Crane (left) looks to submit his opponent during a prior mixed martial arts fight.
Mike Miller, Ojai Valley News sports editor
Life has seldom been as kind to Ojai’s Kevin Crane as sports have. After a less-than-stellar upbringing, Crane dropped out of high school in Santa Barbara before enrolling at Nordhoff High School. It was then, he said, that football seemingly saved his life.
While at Nordhoff, Crane was one of the best football players in Ventura County while also perfecting his craft as a mixed martial artist. After graduating from high school, Crane has made a name for himself in mixed martial arts (MMA) and jiujitsu, but even sports didn’t help when his world came crashing down over the last year
Crane was arrested following a domestic violence incident. As a result, he missed what was supposed to be his professional MMA debut.
But that was the least of his worries. In November 2017, Crane pled no contest to felony domestic violence and was sentenced to 180 days in jail. He ended up serving 77 days behind bars.
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Ruvalcaba, Wilson take top honors

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Ojai Valley News photo by Ken Brown
Thacher’s Zanna Gulick-Stutz (left) and Nordhoff’s Natalie Rainwater race towards a loose ball in a Frontier League game this winter. Both players earned postseason honors. 
Mike Miller, Ojai Valley News sports editor
The Nordhoff High School (NHS) girls’ soccer team enjoyed a terrific winter season and captured the Frontier League title after going 11-2 in league play.
For their efforts, junior Maria Ruvalcaba was named co-offensive Player of the Year along with Fillmore High School’s Andrea Marruffo.
NHS head coach Matt Wilson grabbed Coach of the Year honors. 
Earning first-team All-Frontier League spots for the Lady Rangers were Ester Ruvalcaba, Leslie Perez and Sonya Perez.
Nordhoff’s second-team honorees include Ofelia Navarro, Carla Rodas, Elsa Callahan and Natalie Rainwater.
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Gem by Johnsen doesn’t result in win for Rangers

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Ojai Valley News photo by Ken Brown
Nordhoff High School pitcher Parker Johnsen fires a pitch to the plate against Channel Islands in a non-league contest.
Mike Miller, Ojai Valley News sports editor
After giving up an early earned run March 9 against the Channel Islands Raiders, Nordhoff High School (NHS) senior Parker Johnsen was able to right the ship and pitched a great game. Still, the Rangers were unable to capitalize and remain winless on the season.
With the final score 2-1, the Rangers had their chances.
“We left 12 runners on base and made some early season mistakes, but Parker pitched a heck of a game. After giving up the early run, he really settled down and the other run was unearned,” said head coach Lance Wiggins. 
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Walker and fellow tracksters compete at Ventura Invite

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Photo by Carl Huffman
Nordhoff High School’s Adrielle Walker competed in the varsity girls’ shot put event at the Ventura Invitational March 10 and helped her team to a 10th-place finish. Walker recorded a toss of 26 feet, 7 inches.

Senior men’s tournament winners named

Al Gross, Lonnie Gibson, Larry Memel and Bob Soares won their respective flights in the Soule Park Senior Men’s golf club’s annual memorial tournament.
The tournament is played the first week of March to honor all of the seniors who have played and been members of the club during its 50-year history.
In flight one, Gibson finished with a round of 66 while Earl Whetsell carded a 67 for the second-place finish.
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Ojai junior tennis players thrive in Claremont

Ojai junior tennis players and other local players from the Weil Tennis Academy performed well at the fourth annual Ramada Junior Satellite Championships in Claremont, Calif. March 3 and March 4.
In the girls’ 14-and-under draw, Sweden van Houten, of Ojai, survived a rain-delayed first-round match before upsetting the tournament’s top-seeded player in the semifinals, 6-1, 7-5.
She then defeated Sophie Thoring, of Pismo Beach, in the finals, 6-2 ,6-3.
In the girls’ 16-and-under draw, Justice Martin, also of Ojai, defended her No. 1 seeding by defeating the second-seed, Anaheim’s Charlize Panganiban, 6-1, 6-4, in the finals.
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Sundowner Golf seeking players

The 2018 Sundowner Golf League begins play in late April.
The storied Ojai league plays nine holes each Tuesday throughout the summer in a team format. Limited space remains.
Interested players can contact James Casey at 798-5252.

Melsness, Mang headline Villanova Wildcat baseball

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Ojai Valley News photo by Holly Roberts
Villanova’s Reagan Mang fires a pitch against the Carpinteria Warriors last season.
Mike Miller, Ojai Valley News sports editor
This spring, the race for the Frontier League is wide open and Villanova Preparatory School (VPS) Wildcats plan to throw their hats in the ring according to head baseball coach Carson Brown.
“Bishop Diego and Foothill Tech were the top teams last year, but they both graduated a number of players, so it looks like the title is up for grabs and we’ll be right in the thick of things,” said Brown. 
This season, VPS has 20 players on the roster — eight of whom are freshmen — so they will be relying on their returning players for leadership and on-field production. 
“Reagan Mang and Ryan Melsness will be our top two pitchers and they will rotate at short stop. They are also our best hitters, so we’ll be relying on them pretty heavily this year,” explained Brown. 
Keon Moore and William McColgan also figure to be big contributors this spring for VPS. 
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Special publications

2018 spring Ojai Valley Visitors Guide

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2018 Mind, Body & Spirit
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2017 Best of the Ojai Valley
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October 2017 Student Union

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2017 Senior Living Guide
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2017 Women of the Ojai Valley
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2017 Ojai Tennis Tournament magazine

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